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Obama Calls Michael Brown Tragedy ‘Heartbreaking’

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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama weighed in Tuesday with his first public comments on the shooting of an unarmed African American teenager by a police officer, a controversy that has gained nationwide attention and sparked days of protests in the St. Louis suburb where the altercation took place.

On Aug. 9, Michael Brown, 18, was shot by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The Ferguson Police Department has said that Brown assaulted the officer, whose name has not been released. Eyewitnesses, however, have disputed that claim and saidBrown was killed while attempting to surrender or flee.

In a statement, Obama urged people to “talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds”:

The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time. As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed.

I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.

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